Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Better to Hear You With

Remember earlier this year when Isaac and I took an emergency trip from Caracas to Washington, DC, for him to have tubes put in his ears? It's okay if you don't remember, or weren't reading then, I am conveniently providing the link 'cause I know you're dying to review the backstory to what is coming next.

PART I: Isaac did have the surgery after all and his adenoids out at the same time too. The adenoidectomy (real word, I promise) was unexpected and required an additional level of anesthesia. 3 times in my life I have watched my children go from fully awake into the drug-induced stupor of general anesthesia, it is not great. This third time was especially charming. Isaac was fighting the mask and the nurses made me come in, hold him down, and sing him into submission, let me tell you how super fun that isn't!

After the surgery was over, the ENT came out to report. Our exchange went like this:

He told me he always tells parents exactly what he finds when he performs these procedures so they know they did not needlessly subject their child to anything.

Good, I didn't want to fly all this way for nothing, especially since I'm in the middle of a major international move.

Isaac, he said, was the worst case he had ever seen, EVER -- (and, no, he is not just out of his residency). He said there was so much gunk and goo in his little head he suctioned twice as much as normal (I know, gross) and I should expect more to come out for several days. Oooh, can't wait for that!

Worst case, huh? Guess that means I just lost Mother of the Year!

He went on to say that Isaac was fairly old to be having this procedure done and that it was strange we had not addressed his condition(s) sooner?

Yes, I'm down, go ahead, kick me.
I mean, is it my fault he never had a fever, never complained, never was irritable? Those are the clues, was I really supposed to guess that his ears were in a constant state of infectedness?

He concluded by telling me that his previously diminished hearing
(salt in the wound) should now be restored. And, in fact, he would probably have some sensitivity to sound because of all the fluid he'd had sloshing around inside (rub the salt in well and douse me some lemon juice for good measure -- thanks).

For the record, I am not exaggerating this exchange, I have witnesses.

In reality, there was no noticeable difference in Isaac after surgery. Luckily too, he didn't seem to harbor any ill will towards me for keeping him in a world of muffled noises. His recovery was quick and mostly painless and except for earplugs when he bathes or swims, it is hard to even remember that episode in our lives. The most significant change is that he has not had a perforated eardrum since, thank goodness. Everything has been so smooth, we could almost put all of these ear issues behind us...ALMOST.

PART II: A few weeks ago Caleb was watching TV and asked me to turn up the volume because he couldn't hear. I was in the next room and could everything, perfectly. You can't hear, I said, are you sure? He looks at me and practically yells, NO, I CAN'T! The next day he got in trouble at school for not listening, the only time he has ever gotten in trouble in school. He wept and wept and wept and...
Needless to stay I whisked him off to the pediatrician where he FAILED the hearing test in both ears. Both! I KNOW!

Don't worry fellow Moms, I will never challenge any of you for super Mommy awards now or at any time in the future, this year has seen to that.

The doctor used a little doohickey cleaning thing on Caleb's ears, (again, gross) and then performed the hearing tests again. Right: Pass. Left: Fail.


My poor children have been walking around needlessly deaf. I blame overseas living. I know that's not fair (or true), but my alternative is to blame myself, so, duh!, overseas living it is. My Mom thinks this is why we are in the US right now, so I can get their ears in perfect working order, particularly since there is no reason why either of them should have any hearing issues. That seems like as reasonable a reason as any (i.e. to learn Chinese or to go to Graduate school) so I'm going with it.

Since we FAILED at hearing, Caleb has been back to the doctor twice for ear things, including, our favorite, a perforated eardrum. He is on a bunch of fancy drugs to clean things out permanently and with any luck when we go in for his 5 year-old check-up in January he'll be in fighting form at last.

Hear that, fighting form? Yeah, my kids didn't either! Oh well, what does not kill them, makes them, and certainly me, stronger!


bwebster said...

Not your fault. I suffered ear infections (and often loss of hearing) regularly all the way through my senior year of high school; I also managed to rupture my own eardrum at age 6 or so while we were out in the Philippines by swimming to the 12' deep bottom of the pool at the O-Club and then shooting to the surface. I've always been slightly hard of hearing, as Sandra can attest.

Mibi and Lee said...

OH LINSEY...I couldnt help but laugh at your post because I too love to beat myself up but YOU OF ALL PEOPLE ARE A WONDERFUL MOTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank the Lord he is fine and its not permanent:)

Kimberly said...

Sometimes I wonder about doctors when they say dumb stuff like that. Despite what they learned in med school, ear infections do not always show the typical symptoms! You are a great mama. Hope those boys are hearing well soon!

Becky said...

Oh man. Just what you need. My husband did the same thing to his mom. She felt terrible because he had eardrums ruptures and everything and didn't complain at all till they ruptured. And even then he just said they kind of hurt. The doctor chewed her out and made her feel bad but he had never shown any signs. I am sure you are an awesome mom. So glad you can get it taken care of before you go overseas again though. Not something you'd want to be doing there. Good luck!

Lauren in GA said...

Don't feel guilty. My Adam walked around needing glasses and I put it off and put it off. It seemed like he just woke up one day and he told me he couldn't see...and I kept telling him I'd get an appointment...and by the time I did the doctor confirmed that he had been telling the truth. I felt like a heel...

Lauren in GA said...

...and by the way...you are a great mom!! Don't beat yourself up...how were you to know!

Anonymous said...

I wrote a really long comment yesterday, but a computer glitch halted transmission. So this is slightly shorter (and hopefully relevant) comment to say that figuring out if/when kids are sick is HARD. Yet one more thing I didn't realize at all before having a kid. I always used to judge people who brought their seemingly sick, runny-nosed child to school/church, etc. but now I realize that it's a lot trickier to figure out what's going on with kids internal parts than it appears. Addison is going to the doctor this week and I'm so worried that he's going to say, "Duh, this is what's wrong...and that's why her sleep has been crappy." Parenting = humility, right?!

the wrath of khandrea said...

that is crazy! poor kid. don't know if you remember, buy my noe wears hearing aids. it is so sad and at times frustrating to watch your kids unable to hear. here's to hoping they get it all cleared up. is his speech affected at all?

Brown Sugar said...

why no pics of what came out of these really infected ears? you have really peaked my interest. I once helped my grandpa clean out his hearing aids, it was so disgusting(fascinating) that I think about it almost every time I clean my ears.

Tiana said...

I love that you can take such dramatic events and make it so entertaining to read! I think doctors who give moms a hard time about kids having ear infections need to (insert favorite saying here). I recently took Christopher in just because I wanted to make sure everything was okay (he had a bad cold), and felt silly when they asked all these questions and he seemed just fine. Then they looked in his ears and found a double ear infection and the next week on his recheck his ears were completely clogged with dried hard wax! Fun. But seriously, how are we supposed to know when they don't complain??!?!

You win mom of the year for surviving all of this and still having such a positive attitude. Well, at least being able to write a fun post about it. :)

I hope little ears get 100% better soon.

bwebster said...

True story: when Marla (my former wife) was about 7 or 8 years old, her mom Mary took her in to get her eyes checked, and as it turned out, she needed glasses. A few weeks later, they went to pick up Marla's glasses. On walking out of the optometrist's office (which was in a mixed residential area), Marla said, "What are all those things up on the roofs?" Turns out Marla was seeing TV antennas for the first time in her life.

Mary said she (Mary) started crying because she felt like a bad mom for not having Marla's eyes checked sooner. :-)

Travelin'Oma said...

I had some almost deaf kids before tubes, too. My son was just two when he got tubes, and the doctor told me he'd have a new personality. I told the doctor he had a darling personality already, but I had a whiney three-year-old who could use a personality change. (I was only kind of kidding.) He said to bring her in.

She hadn't ever had a fever or any outward signs of ear infections, but he said her ears were filled with fluid, giving her extreme discomfort and pressure, besides making it hard for her to hear. I felt terrible! After her surgery and a couple of weeks of "runny ear" which was totally yukky, she WAS a new, happy little girl! I hope this all works out for you, too.

Bagel poppers come from Einsteins Bagels. They are little round bagels like donut holes, rolled in cinnamon sugar or glazed. They are the best!

calibosmom said...

You hands down win for mother of the year just for making so many flights with your boys. I bow to you!


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